Skip to main content

Surefire XSC Micro-Compact Pistol Light: First Look

Small, lightweight and purpose-built for sub-compact carry guns, Surefire's XSC pistol light takes on the EDC illumination segment.

Before I begin discussing Surefire's new XSC, let me first acknowledge the no-compromise carry crew. I already know that there is shrill chorus in the background chanting, “Just carry a medium- or large-frame pistol with an X300,” but I’m just happy that untold tens of thousands of gun owners are carrying, regardless of what they are carrying. Armed citizens exist in record numbers, which is a very good thing. We can all agree, a compact gun on the belt beats a full-size pistol left in the safe any day.

For shooters who carry one of the new breeds of sub- or micro-compact semiautomatic pistols, Surefire has heard your cries for more lumens. Enter the Surefire XSC. Because many popular gun manufacturers are using proprietary rail specifications (we’re looking at you Glock, SIG Sauer, and Springfield Armory) the new pistol-mounted light is available in three models to fit the Springfield Armory Hellcat, the SIG Sauer P365XL and either of the railed, slim-frame Glocks: the G43X MOS and G48 MOS.

Versus

Without question, the Surefire XSC brings some much-needed innovation to the subcompact pistol-mounted light. Currently, the XSC challenges the existing Streamlight TLR-6, with or without red aiming laser. The TLR-6 is advertised having a 1-hour runtime using two CR-1/3N lithium batteries. The Surefire XSC is has a shorter runtime than the TLR-6 at just 30 minutes.

In keeping with the design intent of the micro pistols, the Surefire XSC packs a lot of punch into a small package. Thanks to its lightweight aluminum body, the XSC weighs 2 ounces, slightly heavier than the TLR-6, which weighs between 1.12 and 1.27 ounces depending on model. But the XSC is a bit shorter at 1.94 inches in length, whereas the TLR-6 measures between 2.2 and 2.97 inches.


The 350-lumen Surefire XSC beats the Streamlight TLR-6 100-lumen output, but beam distances measures about the same at 90 meters for the XSC compared to 89 for the TLR-6. How much does the Surefire’s increased performance cost? The XSC retails for $329, twice as much as the $175 TLR-6.


More XSC Details

Surefire developed a new switch design for the XSC featuring bilateral, easy-to-use levers. The controls actually push in, rather than down. It’s a subtle change, but it works well given the limited real estate on the subcompact pistols. A quick tap activates a constant-on mode, while a continuous pressure provides the momentary option. In use, I found the switches to be robust, intuitive, and thoughtfully designed given the light’s defensive mission. Each side of the light also features a scoop cut, allowing the shooter’s thumb to have some purchase and access to the control levers without needing to alter the shooting grip.

The XSC utilizes a proprietary lithium polymer 3.7V rechargeable battery. While many of us may not be enamored with rechargeable batteries on a defensive light, Surefire representatives told Guns & Ammo, “The reasoning behind the choice is sound. The rechargeable batteries meet the requirements for both power and size, and a non-rechargeable solution would have been significantly more expensive.”

The Surefire B12 battery charges completely in an hour for the full 30-minute run time. During our evaluation, we cycled through numerous lights, batteries and pistols. I did notice some lumen drop-off towards the end of the batteries’ charge. Each battery has an LED fuel gauge, though, consisting of three lights and a button. When all three are lit, it’s fully charged. Two lights indicate that the XSC still has a bit of power, and if only one LED illuminates, it’s probably time for a charge.

The XSC comes with a dual-battery charger, and extra batteries will be available for purchase. Lithium-polymer cells hold a charge for quite a while, so considering a pistol light is a tool that gets carried a lot and used little, simply topping off on the charger a couple of times a week will suffice for everyday carry use. Personally, I plan on purchasing an extra battery and swapping them out on the charger every week.


What’s Important?

Let’s revisit output. Given the compact design of the XSC, I was expecting the lumens to be AS low as the Streamlight TLR-6. The XSC may not be a 1,000-lumen retina scorcher, but it does put out a respectable 350 lumens and 2,000 candelas. Because of the parabolic reflector, to my eye the light seemed similar to an older model 500- or 600-lumen X300. In a dark training environment, running plates at 10 yards and hitting man-size steel at 20 to 30 yards was easy, and there was no straining of my eyes to accurately identify the targets. In tactical use, the light will aid target ID out to at least 50 yards, and it has enough lumens to be useful within its task and purpose. Will it illuminate a hallway or a large room? Absolutely. I fall firmly into the “more is better” camp when it comes to illumination, and I don’t feel under-equipped with the XSC. For the $329 price, I’m getting more illumination.

For the times when circumstances call for carrying a subcompact pistol, the XSC provides a superb pistol-mounted light source. Even with full-size guns, a pistol-mounted light is only one piece of the puzzle, and I recommend that you always carry a handheld light, too. Given the recently enhanced capabilities of sub- and micro-compact pistols, the ability to also add size-appropriate red dots, and a light means the performance gap between big guns and modern micros continues to shrink.

Surefire XSC Specs

  • Type: Micro-Compact Pistol Light
  • Output: 350 lumens
  • Peak Beam Intensity: 2,000 Candela
  • Weight: 1.7 oz. (48.2 g)
  • Length: 1.94 in. (4.9 cm)
  • Runtime: 30 min.
  • Illumination Distance: 90 meters
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Finish: Hard Anodized
  • Bezel Diameter: 0.78 in. (1.9 cm)
  • Power: One (1) B12 3.7V battery, lithium, rechargeable, proprietary
  • Controls: Ambidextrous, dual-mode switches; momentary- and constant-on
  • MSRP: $329
  • Manufacturer: Surefire, 800-828-8809, surefire.com
Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

In this segment of "Guns & Ammo TV," Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr head to the range to wring out the Umarex Air Ruger 10/22.

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket carry, as a method of concealed carry for a defensive firearm, can be a practical option when done right. This is especially true during the colder months when heavy outer garments can obstruct access to a traditional waistline holster. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts, joins G&A contributor Kimberly Heath-Chudwin to discuss guns, training and gear, including Blackhawk's TecGrip holster that can make pocket carry more successful.

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout cartridge was developed to provide greater effectiveness than a 9mm at short and medium ranges when fired from a short-barreled suppressed firearm. Just because the cartridge wasn't designed to go long doesn't mean Rifles & Optics Editor Tom Beckstrand won't take it there, using a large-format pistol, no less. Armed with SIG Sauer's 9-inch-barreled MCX Virtus Pistol loaded with Black Hills' 125-grain TMK ammunition, Beckstrand attempts to ring steel at 600 yards with help from Hornady's 4DOF ballistic calculator in this segment of “Long Range Tech.”

Cameras Don

Cameras Don't Lie: Subsonic 9mm vs. .300 Blackout

In this segment of "Cameras Don't Lie," a subsonic-ammo showdown, 9mm vs. .300 Blackout fired from AR rifles.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun matches. Here's why.Savage MSR 15 Competition Review Reviews

Savage MSR 15 Competition Review

James Tarr - May 21, 2019

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun...

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best production-grade precision hunting rifle available.Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan Review Rifles

Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan Review

Joseph von Benedikt - March 25, 2019

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best...

Don't underestimate the fun factor.Review: Remington V3 TAC-13 Shotguns

Review: Remington V3 TAC-13

Brad Fitzpatrick - March 08, 2019

Don't underestimate the fun factor.

The first in this new family of Springfield Armory rifles is the Model 2020 Waypoint, the result of years of engineering, testing and evaluation, combined with premium grade components found on rifles costing thousands of dollars more.First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle Rifles

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

Guns & Ammo Staff - September 29, 2020

The first in this new family of Springfield Armory rifles is the Model 2020 Waypoint, the...

See More Trending Articles

More Tactical

MTM announces their new line of Tactical Pistol Cases for 2018. MTM Handgun Cases: Tactical and Practical Tactical

MTM Handgun Cases: Tactical and Practical

G&A Staff - June 04, 2018

MTM announces their new line of Tactical Pistol Cases for 2018.

ASA is the unified voice of the suppressor industry and a leading subject matter experts on suppressors and suppressor related advocacy.American Suppressor Association (ASA) NRA Show

American Suppressor Association (ASA)

G&A Digital Staff - April 29, 2019

ASA is the unified voice of the suppressor industry and a leading subject matter experts on...

New for 2020 is the MTM Tactical Rifle Case—designed to protect rifles and shotguns during transport and to be stacked for storage.MTM Tactical Rifle Case – First Look Tactical

MTM Tactical Rifle Case – First Look

Guns & Ammo Digital Staff - April 13, 2020

New for 2020 is the MTM Tactical Rifle Case—designed to protect rifles and shotguns during...

The Streamlight TLR-7 A, a rail-mounted light (primarily for handguns) comes with a high switch on the light and includes a low switch that makes it more comfortable on different size handguns or for users with longer/shorter finger reach to activate. The lightweight and compact new light delivers 500 lumens for a variety of tactical uses.Streamlight TLR-7 A Rail-Mounted Light - First Look Industry

Streamlight TLR-7 A Rail-Mounted Light - First Look

Guns & Ammo Digital Staff - November 15, 2019

The Streamlight TLR-7 A, a rail-mounted light (primarily for handguns) comes with a high...

See More Tactical

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now